Nashville Statement receives diverse responses from Biola community

Nashville Statement maintains unsettled controversy as it seeks to clarify Christian values

Caitlin Blackmon, Writer

A former Biola student responded to the Nashville Statement through an open letter to President Barry Corey on Sept. 18.

Faculty Support

The controversial statement contains a biblical premise in affirming and denying subjects pertaining to LGBT sexuality, homosexual marriage and premarital sex. The statement has garnered 10 of its 150 signatures from Biola faculty and staff members since its release on Aug. 29.

Erin Green, leader of Biolan’s Equal Ground, wrote in her open letter to Corey concerning the nature of the Nashville Statement and his lack of denunciation toward faculty who signed it. The letter addresses the concerns of the Equal Ground community and hopes to gain any type of response, according to Green.

“My gut reaction is probably no response… or at least a delayed response,” Green said.

Professor of biblical and theological studies David Talley signed the document and shared insight on the relevance of the document.

“I am saddened that we are at a point where such a document needed to be written. The issue of human sexuality is a difficult one,” Talley said in an email. “I do not know anyone who signed it who does not wrestle with how we navigate our way through contemporary culture with all of its challenges. There is nothing fun or exciting about the negative impact this statement has had.”

Because there is controversy on this topic within the church, Green believes some Christians who signed the statement were driven by fear. She believes the document creates problems between LGBT-identifying Christians and those who do not share the same view.

“These folks are saying that you cannot be gay and you cannot be Christian at the same time… it pushes people away,” Green said.

Conflicted reactions

Upon initial reaction, some members of the church may claim the statement merely seeks to condemn sin. However, sophomore music education major Jon Burgess believes it has a different intent.

“There’s such a history of the Christian church not showing the love that it actually intends to,” Burgess said. “There’s so many examples of Christians doing things out of anger to say that ‘God is not allowing this, and we shouldn’t be for this.’ But when in the world should we condemn this?”

Freshman public relations major Stephannie Linares understands this, and wants people who may not know the Bible to understand she comes from a place of love.

“In my personal opinion, it’s very difficult because I have friends who are [LGBT] so I see it from two perspectives,” Linares said. “But at the same time, I know what the Word says is truth, so even if people or society tries to make it seem alright, it’s not really. But I’m not anyone to judge people for what they do, but rather telling them the truth.”

In hopes of unveiling the biblical premises even among divided viewpoints, Talley affirms the Nashville Statement remains rooted in love, and not hate.

“I hope that the statement provides good, clear biblical teaching for the generations that follow,” Talley said in an email. “I hope that they will realize that the statement was not motivated by hate, as some have accused, but rather by love for the Lord and his Word and the church. I hope that they will see it as an attempt to maintain biblical authority in the midst of a culture that is seeking to redefine God’s Word.”

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